Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a brutal crime that affects women and girls within the UK and worldwide. It is generally performed on pre pubescent children and can lead to severe short and long term physical and psychological conditions. In some cases FGM can lead to the death of the child.

The RCGP views FGM as child abuse, as the child has been subjected to irreparable physical harm, and is committed to its eradication. If it is suspected by a GP that a child has undergone FGM then the parent(s) or guardian(s) should be referred to social services who should have the means to deal with the offence accordingly.

Adult women who are victims of FGM will also require the support of their GP for the long term medical and psychological complications they may experience.

GPs are very important to the recognition and response to FGM. The unique position of a GP, as the expert medical generalist at the heart of the community, means that they are in a strong position to identify FGM, provide support to the affected patient, and refer the case onto the relevant authorities.

Useful resources

RCGP resources